Garden Diary - November 2016

If you have any comments, observations, or questions about what you read here, remember you can always Contact Me

All content included on this site such as text, graphics and images is protected by U.S and international copyright law.
The compilation of all content on this site is the exclusive property of the site copyright holder.


Winterizing Outdoor Bananas
Saturday, 5 November 2016

Bananas. I have bananas. They grow in the ground year round. That's right, I grow bananas outdoors here in New Jersey. Forget about picking fruit. Mine do flower and even produce fruit. But the bananas are small and fibrous, no good to eat. It's not the same as growing a peony or ornamental grasses. You first have to select the right kind of banana. Musa basjoo from southern Japan is among the hardiest. And the other important consideration is winter protection. Just like a fig tree, bananas need winter shelter.

I uncover them in late Spring and they start to grow really fast. This is in May.

Here they are in August. Really big and jungle-like.

Bananas are very tender to frost though. Just one night
with a kiss of frost, 30 degrees Fahrenheit, late in October.

So I cut them down. My husband likes to talk about plants as "grass or not-grass." He says, "You cannot cut grass with a chain saw." By this dichotomy, bananas are grass. Easy to cut. They ooze some liquid and the cut surface quickly turn black.

Then I cover the cut back culms with tubs filled with dry leaves.
But wait, there's more.

I started off covering the heaped up leaves with a tarp,
supported on bamboo canes. Crude.

This is the third iteration of installing plywood roof covers. He designed a really good system this time. He used 2" X 4" posts to support the plywood covers, and made a couple of clips that the plywood slides into, up by the house. A couple of screws secure the plywood to the supports. Of course, there were a couple of minor modifications when under construction.

On the left you can see tub covered, cut back bananas. In the center, the storage bay is filled with more leaves. On the right, the leaf filled area has its wooden cover installed. Plastic coated fencing confines the leaves in front and to the side.

Easy to put up. And next spring it will be easy to take them down when it is time again to grow bananas in New Jersey.

Back to Top

Back to November 2016

Back to the main Diary Page